29 January 2018

Activism in December/January

Kingsgate Consolidated v Metal Tiger

Metal Tiger, which owns 8.5% of Kingsgate Consolidated, requisitioned a General Meeting in November 2017, seeking to remove three directors and replace them with five of their own nominees.

All resolutions were voted down by shareholders; however, there was support for Metal Tiger with 45% of investors voting in favour of the removal of Ross Smyth-Kirk and Sharon Skeggs. Another 45% voted for the appointments of Richard Warbuton and Neville Bergin.

While Metal Tiger has since sold down its holding from 8.1% to 5.5%, its CEO, Michael McNeilly, has said that they intend to remain invested and will be watching the board closely to see if it delivers on its promise to look at board renewal. Kingsgate Chairman, Ross Smyth-Kirk has indicated that he will ‘look at’ the issue of board renewal but no changes were expected in the short term.

Vocus v Janchor Partners

In October 2017 activist Janchor Partners increased its ownership in Vocus Group to 7.7%. It has continued to acquire stock with the activist now accounting for 9.2%.

Earlier this month Vocus announced the founder and CIO of Janchor, Mr John Ho, had joined the Board.

Mr Ho, currently holds a 17.9% indirect interest (through Janchor Partners) in Vocus which comprises 9.2% of voting shares and 8.7% through cash settled equity derivatives.

Molopo v Keybridge Capital & Aurora Funds Management v Wilson Asset Management

WAM Capital, an investment vehicle of Wilson Asset Management, announced it has withdrawn its takeover Offer. The activist stated the company’s additional expenditure commitments triggered the ‘no material transactions’ condition. WAM’s offer price of AU$0.135 matched that of fellow shareholder and dissident Aurora Funds Management. Aurora’s offer remains open until 20 April 2018.

Keybridge has released a letter to shareholders, stating that it is investigating Molopo’s investment in Orient FRC and declaring it will destroy shareholder value. The activist shareholder is one of Molopo’s largest investors and has been battling with Molopo since November 2014. The letter has been uploaded to its website.

Quintis v Domenica Nominees Pty Ltd

On 22 January 2018, Quintis announced it had filed for administration; its shares had been suspended since May 2017. Quintis’ Chairman Dalton Gooding said, “We are very disappointed with this outcome given the huge efforts made over the last nine months to recapitalize the company in order to deliver its sustainable future.”

Earlier this month, Quintis received a notice to requisition a General Meeting under section 249D. The requisitioning shareholder, Domenica Nominees Pty Ltd, was seeking to remove three of the company’s directors and replace them with their own nominees. Quintis said that it did not support the motion.

MEC Resources v Dissident Shareholders

On 22 December, MEC received a notice under 249F from a group of shareholders who intend to hold a General Meeting, to remove all directors. The group of shareholders, in aggregate represent approximately 5.1% of MEC stock.

Following a telephone conversation with one of the requisitioning shareholders, MEC believe former MD David Breeze is behind the notice. Breeze, who is the founder of BPH Energy, has said he is not behind the motion, but does support it.  Breeze told shareholders in December that he is still open to engaging in a dialog with the firm, but only if the board is overhauled.

The Board does not support the motions put forward and recommends shareholders take no action at this time. Similar resolutions were put forward and rejected at an EGM in March 2017.

Condor Blanco Mines v Substantial Shareholders

Condor Blanco Mines has received a notice from a substantial shareholder to requisition a General Meeting before 8 March 2018. The meeting will consider the removal of all current directors and the appointments of Patrick Volpe, Vince Truda and Ramon Jimanez.

The company, which has been in a trading halt since May 2016, is gauging the implications of the notice, specifically the Company’s position with creditors.

Murray River Organics v Meredith Nominees & BLBD

In November 2017, Meredith Nominees & BLBD requisitioned a General Meeting of Murray River Organics to replace three directors with their own nominees.

On 24 January 2018, three dissident nominees were elected to the Board, receiving more than 52% of votes cast with Craig Farrow, Lisa Hennessy and Ken Carr all removed from the Board.

31 July 2019

Are you Roadshow Ready?

VICTORIA GEDDES, Executive Director Over the next few weeks, CEOs, CFOs and investor relations professionals will be gearing up for the post results briefing roadshow. For most it will be an intensive three days, maybe 4 or 5, of meetings with shareholders, brokers and potential investors in Sydney, Melbourne and maybe one or two other Australian […]

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31 July 2019

Activism in 2019

DANIEL JONES, SHAREHOLDER ANALYTICS AND IR As we approach the traditionally busiest quarter for shareholder activism in Australia, it is time to take stock of how activists have fared to date in 2019. Has Activism in Australia peaked or just taking a breather? According to Activist Insight, in 2019 there have been 42 public activist […]

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30 July 2019

Activists in Action

July was a quiet month for Activists Five 249D notices were announced this month, with two resulting in scheduled meetings. One of the notices was deemed invalid and the other two withdrawn before a meeting was set. PepinNini Lithium had a meeting requisitioned by Cuprum Holdings to remove two of three directors and to appoint Cuprum’s nominee […]

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29 June 2019

Leading with Purpose

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communications and Media Advisor We are fast approaching the first reporting season under the 4thedition of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations. An aspect of the new Principles and Recommendations, which we wrote about in our March 28th ‘Purpose for the Board’ blog, is the elevation of responsibility for linking a company’s […]

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29 June 2019

Is 2019 ‘The Year of the ESG Fund’?

BEN REBBECK, Executive Director The ascendency of ESG matters within Fund managers, Board rooms and with IROs has unquestionably been rising rapidly in recent years. In this context, a question we often address from Directors and IRO is: Are ESG funds just another short term market trend, like ‘Hedge Funds’ were some 5 to 10 years […]

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4 June 2019

Are Traditional Active Equity Managers Facing Extinction?

VICTORIA GEDDES, Executive Director There are two big trends emerging in funds management and both have implications for how companies engage with the shareholders on their register, target new investors and determine the optimum composition of their register for funding long term capital growth. The Rise of Passive Funds… The rise of passive funds, and in […]

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4 June 2019

Time for Proxy Advisors

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communications and Media Advisor AGM season may seem a long way off for many ASX listed companies but June and July are prime time for engaging with proxy advisors in advance of the peak months of proxy season, between August and October. Proxy advisors play a vital role in helping inform investment […]

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1 May 2019

The importance of good design

GOOD DESIGN is the difference between telling someone and showing them. It can be the difference between informing your audience or convincing them. A carefully composed image, an effectively executed graphic concept or a thoughtfully constructed layout can convert worthy content into memorable messages. We sat down with Campbell van Venrooy, a graphic designer with […]

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1 May 2019

The Do’s and Don’ts of Investor Days (Part 2)

VICTORIA GEDDES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Following on from Part 1, published in our April 2019 Newsletter, this second part of the overview of Investor Days looks closely at what the audience wants to hear i.e. the content most commonly covered and how to put together an effective presentation. What your audience wants to know Bearing in […]

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29 March 2019

Feb 2019 Guidance Review

DAN JONES, MANAGER SHAREHOLDER ANALYTICS During February we monitored companies in the S&P/ASX300 Index that reported for the period ending 31 December 2018, building a picture of the approach to guidance in this market and what that guidance is telling us about outlook for FY19. Around three quarters of companies within the S&P/ASX 300 index […]

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28 March 2019

Purpose for the Board

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communications and Media Advisor A listed company’s Purpose is now, very much, a matter for Board consideration. The latest edition of the ASX’s Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations makes it clear the Board is responsible for linking a company’s Purpose to its strategic goals. Principle 3 states a listed entity should instil a […]

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28 March 2019

The Do’s and Don’ts of Investor Days (Part 1)

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR With reporting season behind us for another six months and post results roadshows underway or coming to a close, companies will soon be approaching one of the few windows available in the annual investor relations calendar to focus on planning and managing an investor day. These are not spontaneous events and […]

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4 March 2019

Cybersecurity: reported data breaches surge almost 700% in 2018

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Federal Government’s Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme, the headlines focused on cybersecurity breaches seem to be coming thick and fast. The attack in early February 2019 on the Australian Federal Parliament’s computer network, has been identified by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the work […]

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4 March 2019

ASX Governance Recommendations

ASX Corporate Governance Council (the Council) launched its 4th Edition of the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations on 27 February after more than a year of consultation. It includes input from the nineteen diverse member groups of the ASX Corporate Governance Council, including associations representing the interests of shareholder groups (ASA) and listed companies who are communicating […]

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4 March 2019

Activism in February 2019

Activists fail in Pacific Dairies board spill  Activist investor Mustafa Hasan’s attempt to replace the board at Pacific Dairies has been voted down. Hasan and fellow shareholders Dursan Cansiz, William Clarke and Necmi Uysal requested the board spill in January. They proposed replacing Directors Paul Duckett, Ray Taylor, and Chris Egan with Rhett Morson, Ping […]

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31 January 2019

February reporting preview

We entered the last reporting season in August 2018 with a high degree of optimism. That optimism was very short-lived as markets experienced a sharp sell-off in August, with actual results falling short of previous forecasts. Subsequently, news headlines have kept investors in a pessimistic mood, examples being the ongoing Brexit uncertainty and the ever-present […]

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31 January 2019

The importance of being purposeful

A well understood and expressed corporate purpose drives long term value. This is why purpose, as a driver of profitability, was a central theme of the 2019 letter from Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the world’s largest investment manager, to the Board’s and senior managers of companies Blackrock has holdings in. It has also been the […]

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31 January 2019

Timing Matters When Releasing Results

It is important for a company to select an appropriate day when presenting its financial results.  With so many companies competing for attention from buy-side, sell-side and financial media, the correct timing of a result can be very important, especially for smaller companies. Understanding where the peaks and troughs are during a reporting season can help […]

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31 January 2019

Activism in January 2019

Dissatisfied shareholder looking to change up the board of Havilah Recourses  A meeting for Havilah Resources has been requisitioned by eight shareholders, collectively owning 8.1% of Havilah’s shares.  The shareholders are looking to replace two members of the board.  The investors seek to remove directors Mark Steward and Kenneth Williams, and have advanced Peter Johnson and […]

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29 November 2018

ACTIVISM IN NOVEMBER 2018

Centuria doesn’t get the votes to spill Propertylink’s board Centuria Capital has failed in its attempt to replace Propertylink’s board with approximately 99% of shareholders voting against the resolutions. In September Centuria requisitioned a meeting to remove Propertylink’s board and to replace it with its six-person slate.  At the time, Centuria Capital was looking to […]

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29 November 2018

AIRA 2018: The FIRST Advisers panel discussion on What Drives Activism in Australia

Valuable Advice for Companies from Successful Activists FIRST Advisers hosted the ‘What Drives Activism?’ panel discussion at the AIRA 2018 Annual Conference held in Sydney on the 23rd of November. While the video of the Conference, including this panel session, can be accessed here, there were a number of interesting takeouts from the discussion that […]

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29 November 2018

Interesting times: 2018 in review

Giles Rafferty, Media and Corporate Communications “May you live in interesting times”, is often presented as a Chinese curse and, as we enter the final month of 2018, it has certainly been an interesting year thus far. In Australia, the Banking Royal Commission has been the dominant story in the financial media during the latter […]

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1 November 2018

Has Activism Peaked or is it regrouping

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director Activism in Australia has some characteristics that are different to other countries around the world. We examine the make-up of activist campaigns in Australia compared to the global average and unpick some of the recent trends to see if there is a pattern emerging. This article is an extract from a paper […]

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1 November 2018

Annual Report – Same-Day Reporting

In July 2018, FIRST Advisers’ analysis of financial results reporting noted the continued trend by ASX 300 companies to publish their Annual Reports on the same day as their Financial Results. Termed ‘Same-Day’ or ‘Simultaneous’ reporting, we have updated our findings to see how ASX 300 companies with a June 30 balance date faired in […]

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1 November 2018

Activism in October 2018

AMP Shareholders get Active Merlon Capital Partners, a shareholder in AMP, sent a letter to its board on 29 October opposing the terms of a proposed sale of its Australian and New Zealand wealth protection and mature businesses. In it they detail a number of undertakings they are seeking from the board and, if not […]

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2 October 2018

The Rising Tide of Passive Investment

Dan Jones, Shareholder Analytics and IR The popularity of passive investment amongst institutional and retail shareholders continues to grow and for good reason. Passive funds have outperformed active in each year since the GFC. The term ‘passive’, however, may well be misleading. While it does describe a manager’s approach to automated stock selection and investment, […]

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2 October 2018

Make AGMs great again!

Giles Rafferty, Corporate Communications Annual General Meetings (AGMs) have to happen, it’s the law.  Consequently, the AGM is a regular fixture in a listed company’s financial calendar when the Board can be sure stakeholders are looking their way. This also makes the AGM a valuable communication moment. There are, of course, a number of necessary […]

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28 September 2018

Activism in September

ESR and Centuria Capital battle for Propertylink ESR Real Estate has placed a $693 million cash takeover offer on the table for Propertylink.  This comes only a day after Centuria Capital requisitioned a meeting to replace all but one member of Propertylink’s board. Centuria Capital is seeking to prevent Propertylink from going through with a […]

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3 September 2018

Who, What & How Much? What FY19 Guidance is Telling Us

Dan Jones, Manager Shareholder Analytics During August we monitored all companies in the S&P/ASX300 Index that reported for the period ending 30 June 2018, building a picture of the approach to guidance in this market and what that guidance is telling us about outlook. Almost 250 companies within the S&P/ASX 300 index gave their results […]

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3 September 2018

Deal Flow – Retail Investors Have a Point of View

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director Post results reporting season is a time when investment banks start engaging their clients, in advance of the year’s end, to get mergers, spin-offs and takeovers off and running. Witness the recent TPG and Vodafone merger as well as the Coles spin-off from Wesfarmers. The merits of engaging in Proxy Solicitation […]

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31 August 2018

Activism in August

Aurora withdraws bid for takeover of Molopo After almost four years of trying to take control of Molopo, Aurora Funds Management has withdrawn its takeover bid.  Keybridge and Aurora have both separately been attempting to take over the company, however, the latest bid, which expired on the 10th of August, was withdrawn citing a ‘dramatic […]

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30 July 2018

Activism in July

MEC Resources unveils board changes Australia-based MEC Resources has unveiled a series of board changes, two weeks after surviving a proxy fight waged by a group of shareholders. Chairman Goh Hock was replaced by Michael Sandy, a former executive at Oil Search and Novus Petroleum with a background in geology. Hock will retain an advisory […]

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27 July 2018

LOOK TO YOUR GUIDANCE

Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director As we enter the 2018 results reporting season, earnings and operational guidance again becomes a topic of significant concern. Recently in the US, industry leaders including Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon joined the debate arguing that public companies should reduce or eliminate the practice of estimating quarterly earnings (EPS), as this […]

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27 July 2018

ESG IS MAINSTREAM ON MAIN STREET

Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors were once the poor cousins of institutional investors’ metrics – nice to have, but not a primary driver of valuation or investment. This is no longer the case. Times have changed, investors are more sophisticated, information is more prevalent and reliable – ESG is now […]

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29 June 2018

A view from the other side of the fence

Daniel Jones, Shareholder Analytics and IR Activism was once again a hotly discussed topic at the 2018 National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) conference in Las Vegas, and with the number of large-cap activist campaigns in 2017 reaching an all-time high, it’s easy to see why. Based on my observations and discussion with professionals, an often […]

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29 June 2018

Setting the standard – ‘Same-day reporting’ of the annual report at Full Year Results

Daniel Jones, Shareholder Analytics and IR FIRST Advisers highlighted a trend amongst ASX 300 companies towards publishing annual reports on the day they announce full year results, ‘Same-Day Reporting’, in early 2017.  We have updated this analysis in order to confirm if a new standard is emerging around best practice for publishing annual reports. For […]

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29 June 2018

ASIC Review of Proxy Adviser Engagement Practices

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director Following FIRST Adviser’s ‘Time to talk to Proxy Advisers’ post last month, ASIC has published its review of proxy adviser engagement practices. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission acted after business organisations complained some proxy firms are unwilling to engage, correct inaccuracies or give time for companies to clarify errors. ASIC’s […]

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29 June 2018

Activism in June

Empire activists seek a strategic review and new board A group of dissident shareholders in Empire Resources has outlined its plan for the company, saying it needed a new “energetic” executive managing director to complete a strategic review of the precious and base metals explorer. The dissidents, consisting of 12 shareholders, are seeking to replace […]

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30 May 2018

Activism in May

Myer v Premier Investments Solomon Lew is continuing his campaign against Myer, in which he holds 11% of stock, writing to fellow shareholders, saying that the company is ‘in peril’ and blaming the Board for its deterioration. The letter follows John King’s  appointment as CEO and MD In April. Among other things, Solomon Lew has […]

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29 May 2018

ASX to make purpose key to good governance

Giles Rafferty, Corporate Communications and Media Advisor The Financial Services Royal Commission is shining a light on governance failures at some of Australia’s largest businesses. It has also revealed a clear need to restore trust in Australian listed companies. The ASX Corporate Governance Council is seeking to address the trust deficit by updating the Principles and Recommendations […]

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29 May 2018

Time to Talk to Proxy Advisers

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director It seems a strange thing to put on the IR agenda, with AGM season still 5 months away for most Australian companies, but June and July are the months when companies are best placed to gain access to proxy advisors outside the peak months of proxy season (April, May, September, October, […]

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30 April 2018

Annual reports – bring it all together

Giles Rafferty, Corporate Communications and Media Adviser The world of investor relations is getting faster, busier and noisier. As soon as news hits the ASX announcements platform it is time to update the company website; amplify the news with tweets and social posts; push out the media release; set up interviews; live stream webcasts; monitor […]

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30 April 2018

Activism in April

8IP Emerging Companies vs Aurora Funds Management Resolutions put forward by Aurora Funds Management to appoint nominees Anthony Hartnell, John Patton and Victor Siciliano, were defeated at the 8IP Emerging Companies General Meeting, with more than 65% of shareholder supporting the current Board. Aurora, which owns just under 20% of 8EC, had put forward resolutions to […]

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30 April 2018

Mandatory Reporting of Data Breaches in Australia is Off and Running

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director, Writing for the Autumn 2018 Issue of Listed@ASX On February 22, 2018 the Federal Government’s new Scheme for the mandatory reporting of cybersecurity breaches that result in the loss of personal data came into effect. Every private and public company with annual turnover of $3 million or more, listed or not, is […]

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5 April 2018

Engaging Retail investors – work smarter not harder

It is generally accepted, at least in the Australian equity market, that Retail Investors play an important role in the construction of a balanced shareholder register. The characteristics that make them attractive are that they generally invest for the long term, are volatility averse and focus on a company’s fundamentals. However these traits can also […]

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5 April 2018

Activism in March

8IP Emerging Companies vs Aurora Funds Management. On 19 March, Aurora Funds Management sent a notice, requisitioning a general meeting of 8IP Emerging Companies (8EC), seeking reconstruction of the board and the implementation of a Buyback. Aurora owns nearly 20% of the company and is proposing the removal of three directors – Kerry Series, Jonathan […]

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5 April 2018

Short Attacks: Is Glaucus an Aberration or the new Normal?

VICTORIA GEDDES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Two years ago we wrote an article on a well-established activist strategy in the US called the “short attack”. In Australia we are very familiar with short selling as a legitimate tactic to deliver portfolio performance but short or bear attacks are something else altogether. Equity markets and investors received their […]

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5 March 2018

Analysing Guidance – February 2018

Dan Jones, Shareholder Analytics and IR During February we monitored all companies in the S&P/ASX300 Index that reported for the period ending 31 December 2017, building a picture of the approach to guidance in this market and what that guidance is telling us about the outlook for FY2018. There were 214 companies within the S&P/ASX […]

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5 March 2018

Activism in February

Successful activism Tap Oil v Risco Energy Risco Energy nominees Chris Newton and Govert Van Eck have been appointed to the Board of Tap Oil while Tap Oil’s executive Chairman, James Menzies, and existing Directors Peter Mansell and Andrea Hall have resigned from their posts. As a result, the Special Meeting was cancelled. Genetic Technologies […]

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28 February 2018

Doing it on Purpose

Giles Rafferty, Corporate Communications Doing it on Purpose Having a Corporate Purpose must be one of the oldest, latest things. There is good degree of noise around the concept of ‘Corporate Purpose’ and it may feel like it has become a buzz word, but it is much more than that and always has been. A […]

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29 January 2018

Activism in December/January

Kingsgate Consolidated v Metal Tiger Metal Tiger, which owns 8.5% of Kingsgate Consolidated, requisitioned a General Meeting in November 2017, seeking to remove three directors and replace them with five of their own nominees. All resolutions were voted down by shareholders; however, there was support for Metal Tiger with 45% of investors voting in favour […]

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25 January 2018

Video: No longer a nice to have

Giles Rafferty, Corporate Communications Video is a critical part of the communication mix. Video engages an audience visually, aurally and emotionally. If a picture paints a thousand words, then a minute of video paints 1.5 million! There are some *mathematics that underpin this assertion but the point of such a statement is to focus attention […]

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25 January 2018

Investor Targeting vs Corporate Access

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director It’s that time of year when listed companies around Australia are gearing up for results reporting season – finalising accounts, booking conference calls and webcasts, updating their list of beneficial owners to ensure they have identified all key decision-makers and starting to work on the key messages they want to deliver. […]

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11 December 2017

Activism in November

Kingsgate Consolidated v Metal Tiger On November 15, 2017 Kingsgate Consolidated’s largest shareholder, London-based Metal Tiger, requisitioned a General Meeting to remove three of the four current Board members and replace them with five of their own nominees, including two independent directors. Metal Tiger plans to review litigation with the Thai Government and insurance companies […]

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8 December 2017

FIRST Advisers at AIRA 2017 Annual Conference & Best Practice Investor Relations Awards

FIRST Advisers was an event sponsor at the AIRA 2017 Annual Conference and Best Practice IR Awards held in Sydney in late November. FIRST Advisers contribution included moderating a Crisis management panel discussion on managing breaches to cybersecurity and sponsoring the Award for Best Investor Relations by a Company in the ASX “Mid-cap 100”. Opening […]

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7 December 2017

FIRST Advisers ranked the Number 1 Australian Proxy Solicitation firm

The FIRST Advisers’ Proxy Solicitation practice has taken a prime position in the 2017 Intermediary Awards, as the top ranked Australian Proxy firm and the 6th ranked globally. FIRST Advisers is the only Australian specialist in Activist campaigns to feature in the top 10 rankings, which are dominated by US and European firms, many of […]

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7 November 2017

Activism in October

NextDC v 360 Capital Group v Asia Pacific Data Centre (APDC) NextDC’s failed bid for APDC led to it making a takeovers panel application in an attempt to delay the merger between APDC and 360 Capital. NextDC now owns 29.1% of APDC stock after its A$1.87 bid lapsed. 360 Capital’s Offer was deemed superior to NextDC’s […]

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6 November 2017

Communicating in a Crisis

Geoff Michels, Senior Corporate Communications Adviser A crisis is an event or a series of events that adversely affects the health or well-being of employees, the environment, a community or the wider public, the integrity of a product or the reputation of an organisation.  A crisis can be operational (fire, an accident) or non-operational (workplace discrimination, […]

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6 November 2017

A Powerful Tool for Supercharging your Investor Relations Effort

David Whittaker, Senior Investor Relations Adviser Why you need to understand perceptions of your company The substantial resources, including staffing, technology, printing, advisers and senior management time that most companies devote to investor relations are unfortunately not unlimited. It’s therefore crucial that these scarce resources are utilised as efficiently as possible with the best IR […]

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4 October 2017

Activism in September

MPO v Keybridge & Aurora Funds Management Following the failed proxy battle earlier this year which saw Keybridge Capital and Aurora Funds Management attempting to seize control of the Molopo Board, Keybridge is again pushing a new director to be appointed. Keybridge has accused Molopo of “extraordinary actions and inactions” and subsequent damage to shareholders. […]

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4 October 2017

RETAIL SHAREHOLDER MEETINGS: LESSONS FROM ACROSS THE DITCH

Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director Kiwis have for some time been seen to be leading their Aussie cousins in numerous areas of social, commercial and legislative progress.  And Investor Relations, specifically in relation to retail-focused shareholder meetings, is no exception. It is easy for Australians to make excuses as to why so often New Zealand leads the […]

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4 October 2017

AGM’s and the changing voting landscape

Dan Jones, Shareholder Analytics & Investor Relations With results and subsequent investor roadshows behind them, many companies have turned their attention to their upcoming AGM. Along with considerations such as shareholder presentations, Q&A preparation, requirements of shareholder analytics and/or proxy solicitation support, etc. thought should also be given to how the voting landscape is continuing to […]

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8 September 2017

Guidance by Australian Companies

VICTORIA GEDDES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR During the profit reporting season for the period ending 30 June 2017, we monitored all the companies in the S&P/ASX 300 that reported up to 31 August, building a picture of what the favoured approach to guidance is in this market and what that guidance is telling us about the outlook […]

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7 September 2017

Activism in August

During August a number of long running campaigns came to an end and a few new additions emerged. We also saw Greencape Capital ‘out itself’ as an activist investor. Ardent Leisure and Ariadne reached a resolution in one of the most publicly contested and hard fought activist campaigns this year. Ardent v Ariadne Ardent released […]

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2 August 2017

Trading Updates for FY17 Reported in July

As a precursor to monitoring how companies provide guidance for FY18, we have been tracking Trading Updates for FY17 that were released during July by ASX300 companies (only 4%). The take-outs are as follows: 42% provided an upgrade from their previous guidance with the price performance experiencing a similar upward trend 33% of the companies […]

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1 August 2017

Activism in July

The Activist scene remains elevated with most of the focus continuing to be on campaigns that launched last month (Ardent Leisure, Asia Pacific Data Centres, AWE, Reffind), long running campaigns (Molopo Energy, BHP, Surfstitch) and campaigns that finally reached a resolution (Central Petroleum, Brickworks/Soul Patts). We also look at Spicers where offshore activist, Coastal Capital, […]

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1 August 2017

The Evolving Board Role in Determining Corporate Culture

Philippa Ellis, Governance & Investor Relations Not a day seems to go by without some headline homing in on yet another corporate scandal with its genesis often attributed to a lax or loose corporate culture. In Australia it has most recently focused on the wealth management and life insurances divisions of the major banks. ASIC […]

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1 August 2017

The Annual Report and the importance of storytelling

Philippa Ellis, Governance & Investor Relations “Stories are the most powerful communication tool we have bar none” according to Andy Goodman of The Goodman Centre. We all carry stories in our heads (pre-conceptions) that strongly influence the way we view the world. These stories cause our mind to be closed to alternative viewpoints even when […]

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4 July 2017

Activists in Action – June 2017

In the last month of the financial year there were 5 new actions and further developments on several campaigns which have been in play now for several months. SurfStitch Group received a section 249D notice on 6 June for the requisition of a shareholders’ meeting from Crown Financial Pty Limited (Crown Financial), a shareholder which […]

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4 July 2017

MiFID II is Coming – Broker, Fund Manager, Company Relationships are about to Change

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director A hot topic at the recent National Conference of Investor Relations (NIRI) professionals in the US was the rapidly approaching January 2018 implementation of MiFiD II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) which has significant implications for Australian market participants and listed companies who seek their support. Because markets are global, the […]

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3 July 2017

How to Engage with Passive Investors this Reporting Season

David Whittaker, Senior Investor Relations Adviser The growth in passive investing is one of the biggest shifts occurring in global capital markets. Passive funds now hold as much as 40% of total US equity market assets, up from around 20% a decade ago*. However, very few companies are adjusting their IR strategy to take account […]

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9 June 2017

What content should I have on my IR Website?

NIRI Annual Conference 2017 Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director At FIRST Advisers we are often asked to assess the content of our clients’ Investor Relations websites for the appropriateness of its content and structure and assist them implement or rebuild their IR websites. The overriding imperative is to ensure the IR website meets the information needs of […]

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9 June 2017

Activists in Action – May 2017

FIRST Advisers has been fairly vocal for the past two years about the rise of activism in Australia and in particular the risk of offshore activists moving into this market given its ‘activist friendly’ regulatory environment. Because we frequently act for one of the parties in an activist campaign, we are closer than most to […]

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9 June 2017

The Importance of Non-Financial Information

NIRI Annual Conference 2017 Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director On 4 June 2017, the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Annual Conference got underway in Orlando, Florida. This Conference brings together over one thousand of the world’s thought leaders and senior professionals in Investor Relations and it is one that we have been attending religiously for the past […]

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8 June 2017

Challenge the “Fitness” of your Investor Relations Plan

Philippa Ellis, Governance & Investor Relations People spend an enormous amount of time and money developing new health and fitness plans to reach their fitness and wellbeing goals each year. Applying similar techniques to your annual Investor Relations (IR) plan will keep you energised and focused on achieving successful outcomes. Establish Achievable Goals You may not […]

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9 May 2017

When to Publish the Annual Report – A New Benchmark is Emerging

VICTORIA GEDDES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Ten years ago I can remember marvelling at those companies that managed to get it together and release their full, glossy annual report on the same day as reporting their full year results. You could count them on the fingers of one hand. More commonly, three to four months after the […]

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9 May 2017

Perception Studies – An Early Indicator of Emerging Issues

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR Getting feedback from investors and other key stakeholders is a given within the investor relations profession. Many companies will do this informally following a roadshow and some will undertake a more formal engagement process, including the Chairman, ahead of the AGM. So a view often expressed by companies is that their […]

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10 April 2017

The Institutional Voting Process at AGM’s and the Value of Vote Tracking

Daniel Jones, Shareholder Analytics The Scenario We’ve all seen it; a company in the midst of a contentious voting situation at an AGM with management nervously waiting on the final proxy vote count. Less than 48 hours before proxy voting is due to close, a significant number of votes are lodged with the Share Registry […]

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10 April 2017

Presentation Techniques for Senior Executives

Geoff Michels, Senior Adviser – Corporate Communications At FIRST Advisers we are frequently asked to coach senior business executives or managers on presentation techniques.  Generally it’s about coming across well at an AGM, or at a roadshow event or in presenting to audiences large and small.  There is also a significant demand for advice and […]

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6 March 2017

Thoughts on the Expanded NSW Cabinet

BOB LAWRENCE, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS Following the resignation of NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and the election of Gladys Berejiklian to replace him, there has been substantial renewal in the NSW Cabinet, with new portfolios established and an additional Ministerial position created. The reshuffle has seen older Ministers Jillian Skinner, Duncan Gay and Adrian Piccoli replaced and […]

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16 December 2016

TOP TEN TIPS TO BE IPO READY

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR The various high profile successes and failures of new listings since the IPO window re-opened in mid 2013 is salutary reminder that there is no such thing as a safe bet when it comes to investing in the equity market. As we look ahead to 2017, there is already a crowded […]

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3 November 2016

Why Aligning your Corporate and IR Strategies Matters

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR Nov 3, 2016 The starting point in the development of a company’s IR strategy is to understand the Corporate Strategy. Closely allied to this is an audit, for wont of a better word, of how this strategy is talked about within the company and communicated to external stakeholders. It is surprisingly […]

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3 November 2016

The Activist – Pariah or Positive Catalyst for Change?

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR The role played by the activist in the US capital markets has moved over the past 10-15 years from pariah to one of being a positive catalyst for change. Today proxy contests associated with nominations of independent directors for board seats are more likely to be won by activists than the […]

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2 November 2016

ASX Updates Admission Requirements for Listed Entities

Following an extensive consultation period, which began on 12 May 2016 with the release of the consultation paper ‘Updating ASX’s Admission Requirements for Listed Entities’ which set out a number of proposed changes to the ASX listing admission requirements, the final ASX admission requirements were released today. The key listings admission rule changes are: For […]

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6 October 2016

Reconsidering the retail investor

PHIL MACKINTOSH and JONATHAN MAIRS, IR MAGAZINE Amid the continuing shift in assets to quant funds and passive ETFs, retail investors are a worthwhile target. Oct 6, 2016 At a glance  Steady players  Amid the shift from active to passive management, and from bottom-up to quant investing, retail investors stand out as a substantial group […]

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5 October 2016

Innovation: the new paradigm in Registries – or is it?

RACHEL SAKURAI, COMPUTERSHARE INVESTOR SERVICES GM QUEENSLAND Fintech, blockchain, disruption, innovation – these are the buzzwords and hot topics that currently saturate the airwaves and are almost certainly not ones that would spring to mind when thinking about big process-driven registry companies. For listed companies the process of signing up a registry provider for the […]

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5 October 2016

ASIC takes a close look at social media use in capital raisings

BEN REBBECK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Oct 5, 2016 On 19 September 2016, ASIC reported on its review of the marketing of initial public offerings to retail investors. The notable feature of this review is that ASIC is now taking a close look at the marketing capital raisings via social media and other platforms, in addition to […]

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7 September 2016

Timing is Everything When Raising Capital

RON CAMERON, SENIOR ADVISER Thinking of undertaking a capital raising in the near future? If you are a larger company, you have probably had a protracted series of intense discussions on the topics of debt versus equity, placement followed by share purchase plan (SPP), entitlement offer, renounceable versus non-renounceable, pricing, underwriting, sub-underwriting, even project nicknames […]

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5 August 2016

What the buyside wants – lessons in investor targeting

VICTORIA GEDDES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Aug 5, 2016 Results season has kicked off. While some companies are already out of the blocks, most are well into planning mode with ASX releases being drafted, presentations put together, Q&As assembled and the investor roadshow organised. For management teams it is often a gruelling process, but spare a thought […]

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5 August 2016

Results should craft a convincing story

DAVID WHITTAKER, SENIOR INVESTOR RELATIONS ADVISER A recent survey presented at the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) conference in San Diego in June highlighted how giving investors useful qualitative information when presenting your company’s financial results can make all the difference to how well the numbers are received. The institutional investors surveyed by Edelman emphasised […]

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18 July 2016

The New Turnbull Federal Ministry

BOB LAWRENCE, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS There is only a minor reshuffle in the new Cabinet announced today. All existing Cabinet Ministers retain that status. In selecting a Ministry Malcolm Turnbull had other parameters to keep front-of-mind than the usual balance of numbers between States and the two houses of parliament. The Nationals position was strengthened by […]

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5 July 2016

Surviving Brexit: Disclosure and guidance in uncertain times

Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director If there is one consistent thing the financial markets are saying about Brexit, it’s that there are uncertain times ahead for every major economy – and by extension, for the prospects and financial performance of every major company. When uncertainty reigns, we often hear management or Boards describe disclosure and guidance […]

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5 July 2016

Short Attacks: The new wolf pack

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR Those who have been on the receiving end of a short attack describe the process as akin to being at war, or being pursued by a pack of wolves, with the company’s very destruction their opponent’s goal. A short or bear attack, to make the distinction clear, is not the same […]

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2 June 2016

Activist Investing Comes of Age

VICTORIA GEDDES, ECECUTIVE DIRECTOR In the past 5 years, post-GFC in particular, the activist investor has become firmly established as a recognised investor category within the funds management universe. Companies are starting to build into their investor relations strategy protocols that quickly elevate early signs of shareholder discontent up to the board. Politely acknowledging, but […]

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1 June 2016

FIRST Advisers in Listed@ASX Magazine

FIRST Advisers is featured this month in the Listed@ASX magazine. Our executive director Victoria Geddes writes on the rise of activist investors in Australia, the tactics they use, and what listed companies need to know. Click here to see a PDF of the article.  

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1 June 2016

ASX to lift the hurdles for listing

Ben Rebbeck, Executive Director The ASX has recently launched a consultation process ahead of proposed changes to the requirements for companies to list on the ASX market.  If implemented, the changes will raise the financial and shareholder spread hurdles for all companies seeking to list, whether by IPO or ‘back-door’ listing. According to the ASX, […]

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27 May 2016

Follow FIRST Advisers at the World’s Premier Investor Relations Conference

FIRST Advisers will be in San Diego next month at the premier global conference for investor relations professionals, staged by the US National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). We will be posting live updates from our Twitter account and filing a post conference wrap up on this blog. The NIRI conference often provides a leading indicator for […]

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11 February 2016

IR Managers: Think your firm has no peers? Think again!

I’ve heard it time and time again. “We cannot target investors based on a peer analysis because we… …have no peers …no direct peers” …no local peers” …no peers of the same size” To you that subscribe to this view I would like to challenge your definition of a peer. Whilst in your eyes a […]

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30 November 2015

It’s Enough to Give Your CEO Nightmares

FIRST Advisers, Investor Tracking and Solicitation An unknown shareholder has doubled their shareholding in your company overnight but they can’t be identified because they are protected by privacy legislation in their offshore jurisdiction. Or suddenly one day that unassuming one per cent shareholding held in a prime broker intermediary account disappears and is replaced by […]

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12 November 2015

Why someone on the outside should draft that press release

FIRST Advisers Corporate Communications Some see it as axiomatic that the people within a company are best placed to draft a press release or other piece of external communication. After all, who better to write the news than those on the inside: the people who were responsible for it, were there from the beginning and […]

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